Houston Skills Gap Report

High Demand for Middle-Skill Workers in Petrochemical Industry and Commercial/Industrial Construction

January 1, 2024

Unemployment remains high across the globe, yet recent data reveals that employers are having trouble finding workers in key sectors. As part of our five-year, $250 million New Skills at Work initiative, we are releasing a series of skills gap reports in nine metro areas in the United States, as well as in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. The reports focus on middle skills jobs – those that require a high school degree and technical training but not a BA diploma.

On November 12, 2014, we released the Houston Skills Gap Report which provides a comprehensive look at available middle-skill jobs in the petrochemical and industrial/commercial construction industries. It offers data-driven steps city policy makers, community colleges, training providers and private sector employers can take to fill these critical, good-paying jobs.


Executive Summary


"JPMorgan Chase's contribution of the skills gap report is essential for the success of UpSkill Houston's business-led effort to strengthen middle skills training and preparation," said Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, one of JPMorgan Chase's workforce partners in Houston. "The report's data will help drive the coordination and alignment that are necessary to achieve the impact and performance our regional economy requires to continue its growth."


Houston's petrochemical sector and industrial/commercial construction industries have high demand for middle-skill workers, commonly defined as people with more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor's degree. Many of the middle-skill jobs highlighted in the report pay a good wage and offer career advancement.

Learn more about the report's key findings, recommendations and data

Learn more about the Skills Gap


What does the Houston Skills Gap look like?

Significant growth in middle-skill jobs
Currently there are: 1,400,000 middle-skill jobs in Houston
74,000 projected job openings every year through 2017.

Petrochemical + Commercial and Industrial Construction equal nearly 25,000 projected middle-skill job openings every year in these two sectors over the next few years.1

Middle skills occupation represent the largest sector of the Houston economy.

41% middle-skill jobs

38% low-skill jobs

20% high-skill jobs

Many Houston residents lack the training to fill middle-skill job openings.

In 2013, over 855,000

Houstonians aged 25 and older did not have the minimum credentials for middle-skill jobs.


Houstonians do not have a high school credential

Further complicating the issue, a large percentage of high-demand middle-skill jobs in the petrochemical and commercial and industrial construction sectors require 1-5 years of work experience for employment.




Commercial and Industrial Construction

Addressing Houston's Middle-Skills Jobs Challenge. A Plan by the Greater Houston Partnership Regional Workforce Development Task Force. TIP Strategies, Inc (April 2014). Nearly, 25,000 annual openings was calculated by adding annual openings for high-demand occupations in the petrochemical sector and the commercial and Industrial construction sector.